Maine delegation reactions mixed on free trade bills

Posted Oct. 13, 2011, at 11:35 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s congressional delegation is divided on the free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama which Congress has approved.

Both Democratic representatives, Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, voted against them Wednesday. Michaud said Congress’ action continues policies that have cost jobs and closures of businesses from Kittery to Fort Kent. Pingree said the agreements will send good-paying American manufacturing jobs overseas.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins supported the free trade agreements with Panama and South Korea, but opposed an agreement with Colombia. Collins said the Korean agreement will help Maine businesses.

Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe said Congress can’t afford to implement new trade agreements that further threaten the vitality of American jobs, especially manufacturing. Snowe’s concerned about the Korean and Colombian agreements, but sees promise in the one with Panama.